Monday, February 20, 2012

Organizing for Randomness

Do you remember this beautiful group of Primativa from Andover that I bought from the wonderful Julie at Intrepid Thread?  I started cutting into it Saturday morning, but not until after I did a bit of quilter's math.
(I would love to teach classes on quilter's math the way I do it.)
Anyway, I knew I had to figure out a method to get random in an organized way since I was using these 18 fat quarters to make Tom's quilt.  I saw a quilt on a blog and asked the maker if she used a pattern, and if so, where she got it.  She said she saw the quilt in many places, and just made her own pattern.  I love to make patterns, so I drafted one that would work with the Primativa.

The first thing I did, after figuring out the math, was to cut the fat quarters into 3.5" strips.  I got five from each piece with a narrow strip left over.  I cut two strips from each piece into 3.5" x 3.5" squares and set them aside for the snowball blocks.  The first blocks I need to build are nine patches.  I wanted to sew random groups of three 3.5" x 22" strips together to make this work.  In order to get these really random, without repeats, I used the narrow left over strips.  I cut them into thirds to have three of each, then put them in groups on the cutting board.  Then I built the strip sets, following the mini examples.

I was so excited when I got them all together, and it all turned out right.  The bonus is that I can now build mini wonky nine patches for another project.  Maybe a baby quilt or a doll blanket. 
After I sewed all the sets, I cut a series of 3.5" strips.  Of course, I had to put a nine patch together to see how my plan was working.

One of the things I had the hardest time with when I started quilting last year was to get the seams ironed the right way.  I don't like open seams for many reasons, so I need to make sure to get them pressed in the right direction for nesting.  Sometimes, that is just really hard for me to figure out.  This time, I made sure all my seams were pressed in the same direction when I built the strip sets. Then I could turn the center one around as needed.  Here, on the backs, you can see that seams are going just the right ways for great nesting.

All that prep payed of in a beautiful random block with corners that meet nicely and lay nice and flat.  Now, I have 27 more of these to make, and no two will be alike.
As you may know, if you are a regular follower of my blog, I am not one to go out and buy a bunch of fabric from one line.  I don't often see many that I like that much, and I am very mindful of how I spend my limited fabric budget.  When I first saw this line, I immediately fell in love with the colors and the designs.  As I was pressing each piece before cutting, I couldn't decide which design was my favorite.  These are colors I love to use together, and I couldn't believe someone would put them all together in one line.  I think of this as my first "Modern" quilt.  Wait until you see tomorrow's post with the bright orange snowball blocks!
I am having a very good project year so far.  I am not finishing much, but I am having a great time creating tops.   I hope you are having a great quilting year, as well. 
Joyful quilting, everyone.


Vroomans' Quilts said...

It's refreshing to see some one enjoy the processing. Having fun with with your projects is something that I think is missed by others because they 'must do' or rush thru things. Eventually there will be a moment of loving finishing, but enjoy the journey first.

sheila 77 said...

One of the things I like about your blog is that you post about your process. This looks like a good fun project with these lovely fabrics. I prefer to press the seams open to match more easily, but maybe that is not so good if you are going to be making something which will be used, like a quilt.

Snoodles said...

I can see why you love this fabric's lovely! Your nine-patch is wonderful, and I'm looking forward to seeing more of them. I, too, like to nest the seams, and I have trouble during the process, figuring out which way to press! That is a good tip you gave.